Content Marketing Blog

Starbucks unveils content partnership with The New York Times

Starbucks, the popular coffee shop chain, has announced a content partnership with The New York Times, one of the world’s most widely-read newspaper brands.

Under the agreement, the 10 million or so members of the My Starbucks Rewards loyalty programme will be able to access a limited number of articles from The New York Times free of charge.

Paywalls to plug the ad gap 

Like many of the big newspaper brands, The New York Times now puts the majority of its content behind a paywall.

Users who want to access it online need to pay a digital subscription or find a work around.

With print circulation having declined dramatically over the past two decades and a big chunk of the available advertising revenue having moved to the web, newspapers are struggling to find new, workable business models.

Paywalls have not been universally adopted, but brands like The New York Times see paid digital subscriptions as at least part of the solution to the challenges facing the industry.

Closing in on 1 million subscribers

At the end of last year, The New York Times had 910,000 digital-only subscribers, which represented an increase of 20 per cent on the previous year.

“Digital subscriptions for content provided on and other digital platforms generate substantial
revenue for us,” the company said in its 2014 annual report. “Our future growth depends upon our ability to retain and grow our digital subscription base and audience.”

The Starbucks deal is part of the effort to grow that digital subscriber base. The hope will be that introducing Starbucks customers to its content will convince more people to sign up. Starbucks is offering stars to members who go on to take up paid digital subscriptions.

“We’re particularly happy that Starbucks has also put in place an appealing incentive to turn these readers into subscribers,” said Mark Thompson, president and CEO of The New York Times Company, the paper’s holding company.

Facebook Instant Articles

The New York Times is involved in a number of other initiatives designed to promote its digital content. Earlier this year it joined with eight other publishers to take part in Facebook’s Instant Articles, which brings exclusive stories to the social media giant’s vast audience.

As well as more readers, Instant Articles also offers an additional revenue stream to participating publishers. The New York Times and the other brands providing exclusive content to Facebook can sell their own ads or use Facebook’s advertising platform.

Facebook is one of the world’s most successful advertisers having generated more than USD $3 billion from ads in the first three months of 2015.

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